View Full Version : Tower Speaker Replacement - Recommendations

12-01-2010, 04:44 PM
Hey guys, this has been covered a ton over this board, but I have a different question. I currently have Skylon tower speakers. They are dual pods, so four speakers total. The speakers themselves sound like crap, and I'm looking for a fairly inexpensive replacement. I like the cans, so plan to re-use them. I was thinking about putting the Polk db651's in them, and was curious if anyone else had these in their tower speakers. I've got them in the cabin, and they sound great. I know the acoustics are night and day different bewteen inside and outside the boat, but was curious what recommendations were out there. A kicker 200.4 will be running them.

12-01-2010, 04:48 PM
have you given any thought to hlcd's? I know it's a bad name around here, but the krypt are somewhat inexpensive and don't come with cans, and I remember seeing that kicker has a set that uses separate midbass and horns? not in the same league as the db651's, but would prevent you from getting the upgrade bug again down the road :)

otherwise I would suspect the db651's would be a very nice compliment to your cabin speakers and if it wasn't for hlcd's, that's what I would have right now..

you da man
12-01-2010, 04:53 PM
The Polks would do wakesurfing but not boarding

12-01-2010, 05:43 PM
I know you state inexpensive, but the Kicker KM6500.2 tower speaker system is worth mentioning. They will fill your 2 double pods and will sound great for both surfing and boarding.

If you went this route, I would highly recommend going with more amp as the 200.4 would only deliver 100 watts to each pod.

On another note, the 200.4 only does 50x4, and that's not much for any speaker on a tower, so even a new speaker will sound not so good when cranked up. For an inexpensive marine coax that would be a good match for the available power, I like the Kicker KM6000.

12-01-2010, 07:00 PM
If you're trying to be able to hear the music while you wakeboard HLCD speakers are definatley what you need. I have just a single pair of bullets and can hear my music loud and clear. If you just want some tunes on the tower for surfing or swimming around the boat I'm sure the polks will get the job done fine.

12-01-2010, 07:47 PM
The Polk dB is a relatively smooth speaker with just a touch of extra aggression on the top end which makes it a popular choice in the boat, especially within its price point. However, the very fact that it is smooth means a conventional coaxial won't cut it at boarding range. Yes, you'll hear them to a degree while boarding but without much of the distinctive qualities. If you are going to go with a conventional 6 1/2-inch tower speaker then go with something that has a full 1-inch tweeter that is a hard metal dome. A second order highpass crossover is a bonus given how hard you would normally run tower speakers. Again, you don't want the same qualities that you look for in a speaker that is listened to in close proximity.
Plus, if you want good projection at 80 feet the 200.4 is not going to get the job done as Mike (MLA) has stated. It will easily run into clipping before reaching that distance.
As for any HLCD Proaxial 6.5-inch speaker in a small 7-inch diameter pod, this is what you will get; the pod displacement is just too small for any level of lower midrange or midbass. The cone area is much smaller than that of a standard coaxial. The large horn down the middle means the voice coil is larger and the useful spider (interior suspension) is therefore smaller. Because the voice coil gap is open and exposed to the outside the porous spider leaks the intense pressure of the small pod. When pushed this creates direct cancellations in the midbass. An HLCD (horn loaded compression driver) is incredibly aggressive on the highs by nature. This may work with a bigger midbass driver in a larger pod. But all the above factors combine for a brutally bright speaker that has ZERO midbass and very little to no lower midrange to offset the horn tweeter. Its about as annoying as fingernails on a chaulkboard. In fact, they almost sound like pure PA horns. IMO the above is a major mistake if you have a critical ear.
Mike recommended the Kicker HLCD system and I agree with his reasoning because of the following points. Its a sealed midbass cone so it has more cone surface area and no inside to outside cancellations. Its not a Frankenstein creation or collection of random parts. The Kicker was engineered by real audio people and has a selectable crossover so that you can maintain more of a balanced sound in a variety of applications. Bridging the 200.4 into 4-ohms is still light but it would get you by until you could address a larger tower amplifier.
If you are willing to replace your pods then the Exile coaxial tower speaker is the best available in a conventional speaker under $500 a pair by a good margin. For a bit more you can get into a Bullet HollowPoint 770 coaxial which features a larger pod and larger midbass driver. Both of these options will project well and are less demanding of power than an HLCD. One pair of either of these is great for surfing and kicking around behind the boat.
If you are set on clean projection with some authority at 80 feet then you have got to go with at least one pair of HLCDs. But with one pair it needs to be a 7.7 or 8-inch speaker (Bullet HollowPoint or WetSounds for example). Two pair of 6.5 HLCDs are great if its a pre-packaged system from Exile in a good sized pod, like the XM7 for example.
Keep in mind that there is a national WetSounds promotion on during this month for as much as 25 percent off on B-stock plus some very aggressive current promotions on the other brand of HLCDs.

Earmark Marine

12-02-2010, 02:43 AM
i found some wet sounds xs650 speakers mounted in a dual pod design with 4 speakers. i know from reading on hear that there is pretty much no replacement for HLCD tower speakers but would these fair better than the polk db651s? i dont need a super good sound wake boarding or anything, decent sound and a value are more along the lines of what i am looking for.

i looked at the exile xm7 but i am unsure about whether the kicker zxm350.4 can power these well or if i am just better off going with the wet sounds one.

12-02-2010, 08:50 AM
I will assume that you are describing the Wetsounds speakers in twin pods sharing a single collar from Monster Tower or another import pod. In this case
the WetSounds coaxial is a standard in-boat speaker that is mounted in an undersized pod. I wouldn't recommend that. The WetSounds version uses the same pod as the Pro60 which has a much larger displacement and therefore better midbass. These are free-air or infinite baffle speakers that are intended for large gunnel cavities behind the coaming. When you place them in tiny pods the resonance is inordinately raised just like tightening up a guitar string. Thus, NO midbass. Pod displacement is just as much of the equation as cone surface area. Whether two pair of the Exile tower coaxials (surf models), the comparable WetSounds version or the Bullet HollowPoint 770 coaxials you are looking at better products at marginally more cost. With the national WetSounds winter sale program two pair of the tower coaxials can be had for as low as $800 shipped. There are currently similar specials on other brands as well.
Earmark Marine

12-02-2010, 08:54 AM
Btw, one pair of XM-7s can be powered by a bridged Kicker 350.4. An honest 150 watts per channel will get it done and you have that at 13 volts supply.

you da man
12-02-2010, 09:18 AM
The second product I would check out are the Exile surf speakers. I presently have these on my boat and am very happy with them.

and yes, I was once given a discount in exchange to say the above, but I only promote products I believe in..

Whoa!!! Ed, you're admitting to working with a vendor/company for a discount for advertising and just a few days ago you made this statement, "it would get squashed and would happen quickly.

now let's all play nice, or that will also give a trigger happy moderator reason to squash it...

damn - my index finger is getting kinda itchy".

You made this statement when a member accused me of getting a discount for posting an item on sale. A moderator can do this but members can't? I guess we're clear on this as members. Was the new faux teak Seadek the same deal for promoting Seadek and/or group buys? Could we get an explanation on this privilege?

12-02-2010, 04:36 PM
Lots of good information here on tower speakers but I found one critical thing missing from the OP. When you do this change on your tower setup, do you want sound on target @ 80feet or are you looking for sound @20feet. This is really the critical element and then all else will fall into place from a sound technology / budget stand point.

If it's more the surf setup your looking for, and budget is the biggest factor, then the best bet is to drop some off the shelf speakers in your existing cans. If you want to spend some more then look at the options earmark laid out. Yes there are benefits to spending more... Ya just plain get more sound, better build etc... But hey, everyone has a limit.

If wakeboard performance @80feet is your thing, step up into HLCDS. But this gets more complicated system wise because I'd be looking closer at what my other sound zones - sub and cabin are capable of. It's easy to end up with to much of one dominating zone.

In either setup , make sure you put as much power amplifier into the configuration you can afford. Big power can really help any speaker. I remember when razz man did his exile setup and went from a standard coaxial to our stuff. He called me a said wow what a difference, wondering why so dramatic. Honestly part is the speaker and part is the abundance of available power on tap for the speakers. Clipping amps make any speaker BAD.

So my advice is, if you are going to keep the pods and the current amp, then find a speaker brand that will fit into that mix. If your open to changes in pod or amp, then you can take a fresh look at system goals.

Just my 28 cents.

Exile Audio

12-02-2010, 04:55 PM
X2 what Brian said, find your target range and then make educated decisions. I found out i didn't need HLCD's due to a varied mix of watersports and chiilin' on our part. Many on here love their HLCD's and I LOVE my non-HLCD Exile SXT's, and there's nothing wrong with that. Listen to whatever's available first before making a decision on anyone's recommendation, nothing worse than spending money on speakers and realizing you don't really like them or bought the wrong gear. Talk to the dealers here, they're all great. ;)

12-03-2010, 04:11 PM
Thanks for the reccommendations to date on this guys. I did froget to mention my "target listening point" in my original post. Which, wouldn't be much over sufring distance.

I know a lot of guys on here have super high powered systems in their boat and on their towers, and I love my music - don't get me wrong - but I don't enjoy hearing someone elses tunes from a boat halfway across the lake. So, I've decided not to be that guy, and didn't want to power up on my tower setup. Just not for me. More power to ya if that's what you want.

For the time being, the Polk's look decent, and with Christmas, I might not have to shell out any money for them. At some point in the future, I'll probably upgrade the pods and speakers, but for now, I'm thinking they will fit the bill nicely.

12-04-2010, 08:23 PM
Polks db 651's will do the trick and the amp you have with compliment them well with power 65 w rms cheap sound good and when and if you want to upgrade easy to sell to someone for cabin speakers.... good choice for around 100.00 for 2 pair.

12-06-2010, 06:50 PM
My thoughts exactly!!